CINCINNATI (AP) - The Bengals aren't willing to trade Carson Palmer, who wants toleave one of the NFL's least-successful franchises while he's stillin his prime.
Owner Mike Brown said Monday that the 31-year-old quarterbackasked for a trade a little more than a week ago. Brown told Palmerthe team wouldn't trade him because he's central to its plans.
"He was told that, and that we count on him going forward,"Brown told The Cincinnati Enquirer and the team's website inMobile, Ala. "He was told that we are not in a position to tradehim."
The franchise quarterback has decided it's time to leave hismess of a franchise.
Palmer hasn't talked to the media since making his traderequest. A text message seeking comment wasn't returned. AgentDavid Dunn released a statement saying that "because of the lack ofsuccess that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together,Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengalswould be in the best interest of both parties."
Palmer was the franchise's building block when it made him thefirst overall pick in 2003, Marvin Lewis' first season as coach. Heled the Bengals to the playoffs in 2005 and 2009 - their onlywinning records in the last 20 years - and rebounded from severeknee and elbow injuries along the way.
His trade request is another telling moment for a franchisecoming off a 4-12 season that was in many ways its mostdisappointing. Lewis' contract was up, but he decided to stay eventhough Brown refused to make any significant changes in how theteam operates. Brown, Lewis and the staff are in Alabama to coachplayers for the Senior Bowl.
During the taping of an episode of "The T.Ocho Show" that willair Tuesday night on the Versus cable network, receiver ChadOchocinco and Terrell Owens said Palmer was unhappy with Lewis andthe front office.
"If he's asking for a trade, he obviously wasn't comfortablewith the rehiring of Marvin Lewis," said Owens, who is a freeagent. "He's been very stealth and discreet with his message, buthe's saying there's a problem without saying there's aproblem."
"At this point, I think he's frustrated with management and thehead coach, management not embracing him ... a bunch of stuff,"said Ochocinco, who also might not be back next season.
Palmer's request is an indication he doesn't think the team canwin the way it currently operates. Brown said they didn't get intospecifics of what was bothering Palmer.
"We'll just have to see how it plays out," Brown said. "We'llreach out to him and understand the things that are in his craw.Maybe there are things we can do that will appeal to him. We'll tryto and see whether he can get it fit back together in thefuture."
Brown has a history of refusing players' requests for trades.When Ochocinco tried to get traded before the 2008 season, Browndug in. Ochocinco expects the same to happen with hisquarterback.
"Carson isn't going anywhere ... relax," Ochocinco tweeted onMonday.
Palmer has few options if the team decides it wants to keep him.The question is how having an unhappy quarterback will affect theorganization.
The 2002 Heisman Trophy winner at Southern California became thegame's most impressive up-and-coming passer when he led the Bengalsto the playoffs in 2005, breaking a streak of 15 years without awinning record. He tore up his left knee during a playoff loss toPittsburgh.
Late in the 2005 season, Palmer agreed to rework his contract togive the club more salary cap flexibility. He got six years addedto the deal, which lasts through 2014. At the time, he said hewanted to finish his career in Cincinnati.
Since then, the Bengals have made the playoffs only one moretime, losing to the Jets in the 2009 season. The offense has beenin flux, bouncing from a run-based approach in 2009 to a mix ofrun-and-pass last season that didn't work. With Owens and Ochocincoas his top targets, Palmer completed 362 of a team-record 586attempts for 3,970 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also matched hiscareer high with 20 interceptions.
As the season went along, Owens openly questioned the coaches'play calling, saying the Bengals should throw more. Running backCedric Benson, another free agent, said the team should have stayedwith its run-first philosophy. Now, Palmer is throwing up his handsin frustration.
Brown thinks they can still coexist.
"The life of a pro quarterback is not always easy," Brown said."When you're down the criticism will flare up. That's the nature ofour business. We want him to re-up, be in good spirits and in timehe'll come around. This was a deeply disappointing season for us,we have all suffered from it. I think we will rebound."
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